In The News
Governors Seeking Fire
This spring Western governors met with officials in hopes of obtaining long-term
funding to reduce the risk of wildfires. Since last summer's fires, state and
federal agencies and interested parties have worked collaboratively to produce a
10-year strategy to reduce the risk of wildfires. Although $3 billion has
already been approved by congress for 2001 to manage hazardous fuels, restore
firedamaged lands and support fire preparedness, the governors are seeking the
same funds for 2002. A copy of the 10-year strategy, which the American Forest
Resource Council participated in preparing, is available at the Western
Governors' Association web site at www.westgov.org.
Umpqua In The Black
While many in the National Forest Service are finding their books in the red,
the Umpqua National Forest in Oregon bucked the national trend, showing a profit
in 1998. In fact, they made a net profit of $9.3 million while nationwide
national forests lost $126 million. As recently as 1994 logging earned a net
profit of $122 million for the forest systems. The Forest Service says the drop
in revenue is due to the agency's shift from harvesting larger more valuable
trees to smaller, fire-prone timber.
The Campbell Purchase
The Campbell Group (TCG) has purchased from International Paper Company
approximately 265,000 acres of commercial timberland in Washington on behalf
2001 of Rainier Timber Company, a newly formed company managed by TCG.
"This purchase represents an investment of more than $500 million and is
the largest single transaction ever completed by a timberland investment
management organization," says Stan Renecker, president of TCG. The
purchase positions TCG as the largest private timberland manager in Washington
with a land base of more than 520,000 acres, and the second largest forestland
manager in the United States. Renecker adds, "These properties represent
some of the best managed, highest quality forestland in the world, and are
important parts of the local economies. Our future management will focus on
continuing the production of high-quality timber for both the export and
Mike Dombeck, who had held the office of chief of the Forest Service since
January 7, 1997, resigned March 31st. Phil Janik, chief operating officer for
the Forest Service, will serve as acting chief until a successor is named.
"I have enjoyed every minute of my tenure as chief of the Forest
Service," said Dombeck. "I feel that this is the right time to step
down, spend time with my family, and then look at new opportunities."
Washington insiders and the media have speculated that Dombeck is resigning over
differences in opinion with the Bush administration regarding the future of the
Forest Service. In an Associated Press article that appeared March 27, Chris
Wood, a former top aide to Dombeck, said Dombeck's resignation was the result of
the Bush administration's desire to take the Forest Service in a different
WSRI Publishes Truck Turnaround
In June 1999, the Wood Supply Research Institute (WSRI) was formed to
investigate areas of efficiency that can make the whole wood supply system more
effective. Jointly funded by six forest products companies and six logging
associations, WSRI has concluded its first project, "An Investigation of
Roundwood Truck Turn-Time Cost Penalties to the Wood Supply System." The
research team, led by Dr. Don Deckard, gathered 10,244 records of individual log
truck mill turnaround times. Based on this data, the team estimated that
"excess" truck idle-time at mill woodyards imposes total costs of $.20
to $.53 for every ton of roundwood hauled in the study area, or $39.2 million to
$102.9 million per year. Whether borne by the logger, the trucker, or the mill,
this cost represents a drain on the wood supply value chain, potentially
depressing profitability for all of its links. Anyone interested in additional
information about this report, or in joining WSRI, should send a note to WSRI
director Steve Carruth at email@example.com, or phone him at (304) 392-1616.
Slow Start For the West
The Western Wood Products Association (WWPA) forecasts a slow start for western
mills but a better second half. WWPA said U.S. lumber demand should total 51.7
billion board feet in 2001, down 3.9 percent from 2000 volumes and the lowest
consumption since 1997. Even so, 2001 will be the fourth-highest consumption
year on record. WWPA predicts that lower housing activity should reduce
production at Western lumber mills by 6.3 percent to 16 billion board feet.
Overall U.S. lumber production is forecast to decline 4.8 percent to 34.1
billion board feet. "The first six months will be difficult for Western
mills," said Michael O'Halloran, WWPA president. "We're hopeful the
second half will show some improvement that could carry the industry into
2002." According to WWPA, slower demand will likely end a three-year run of
increased lumber imports from Canada. Canadian imports are forecast to fall to
18 billion board feet - the lowest since 1997.
Sierra Moves to Washington
The word is out that Sierra Pacific Industries of Anderson, Calif., may be
expanding north into Washington. They've agreed to purchase 45 acres at Junction
City, near Aberdeen, Wash., where they plan to build a sawmill and a log yard.
Also included in the Sierra plan would be the reconstruction of a railroad line
that used to connect Junction City with the main railroad line.
National Indian Timber
The 25th annual National Indian Timber Symposium will be held in Carlton, Minn.
June 24-28, 2001. The topic this year is "balancing conflicting objectives
for tribal forces." The Fond du Lac (end of the water) band of Lake
Superior Chippewa will be welcoming the Intertribal Timber Counsel and friends
to explore the conflicts regarding the use of resources and how we can balance
those conflicts. For more information you can call the Intertribal Timber
Counsel at (503) 282-4296 or fax them at (503) 282- 1274.
Thumbs Down on Ergonomics
In March the U.S. House and Senate voted down the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration's Ergonomics Rule, terminating one of the most controversial
rulemaking processes in OSHA's history. OSHA issued a draft Ergonomics Rule two
years ago, and businesses submitted extensive testimony in opposition. The final
version of the rule was even more burdensome. Businesses bitterly contested the
provision that employee compensation measure in excess of Workers' Comp payments
for diagnosed ergonomic injuries, in spite of substantial uncertainty about the
influence of workplace conditions over ergonomic disabilities and the obvious
incentives for fraud. The House and Senate also saw problems with the Rule.